Netflix braces for decline in growth; stock tumbles

Netflix Inc. is bracing for a customer backlash that could result in its slowest subscriber growth in more than three years amid changes to its online video and DVD rental service that will raise prices by as much as 60 percent.

The sobering forecast issued Monday overshadowed the second-quarter earnings that accompanied the company’s outlook.

Netflix shares plunged $28.53 to $253 in Monday’s extended trading. The stock had closed at $281.53, leaving it with a 60 percent gain so far this year.

Netflix’s shares plummeted largely because the company expects its results for the current quarter ending in September to miss the targets set by stock market analysts.

Bay State attorney general poses threat to bank deal

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said Monday that she will not sign any agreement between attorneys general and big banks that releases the banks from future mortgage-related liability.

Coakley’s stance could create an obstacle for a settlement that has been in the works for weeks between attorneys general in all 50 states and banks. That agreement is supposed to settle claims of shoddy mortgage and foreclosure practices that were discovered last fall, including document fraud.

Coakley and several other attorneys general believe a release from future liability would hamper their investigation into banks’ mortgage practices.

U.S. Steel records profit for quarter, first since ’08

United States Steel Corp. says it turned a quarterly profit for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2008, benefiting from higher steel prices even though shipments declined.

The Pittsburgh steelmaker on Monday reported net income of $222 million, or $1.33 a share, for the April-to-June period. That compares with a net loss of $25 million, or 17 cents per share, a year ago.

Sales rose to $5.12 billion from $4.68 billion. Shipments fell 6.5 percent from a year ago.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet predicted earnings of $1.22 per share on revenue of $5.56 billion.

Kimberly-Clark says it will raise prices as costs soar

Kimberly-Clark Corp. said Monday that it will keep raising prices to deal with rising costs for raw materials — a sign that it believes people are willing to pay more for household products like Huggies diapers and Kleenex tissues.

That news was part of the company’s earnings report. Kimberly-Clark said its second-quarter net income fell 18 percent despite revenue rising 8 percent. The manufacturer said it was paying 15 percent more to make and transport its products.

The Dallas-based company said it expects increased expenses to cost it $650 million to $750 million this year, up from the $450 million to $550 million annual increase it predicted three months ago and the $200 million to $250 million it predicted three months before that.

Dow Chemical, Saudi firm push $20 billion complex

Dow Chemical Co. and the Saudi Arabian Oil Co. pushed forward Monday with plans to build a $20 billion chemical complex in the desert kingdom that they say will rank among the world’s biggest.

The decision by both boards to create a new joint venture, the Sadara Chemical Co., formalizes a project that has been in the works since 2007. It promises to create the largest integrated chemical facility ever built at one time.

The complex will be located in Jubail Industrial City, about 60 miles northwest of the eastern city of Dammam. It will include 26 manufacturing units producing chemical products and plastics for use in the energy, transportation, infrastructure and consumer products industries.